Skip to main content

The best soundbars in 2020

Best soundbar

Adding one of the best soundbars to your entertainment setup is a key step to getting extra oomph out of your favorite games or more immersed in your favorite movies and shows.

If you've never used a soundbar before, you might be surprised at the difference it can make. Soundbars are the quickest and most cost-effective way to transform media, and a massive improvement over the typically tinny and anemic speakers that come fitted to most TVs. And if you throw a subwoofer into the mix too, they can add a level of depth and richness to content that was never there before.

Better yet, soundbars come in all shapes and sizes, and within a variety of price ranges. That means no matter how much you have to spend, or how much space you have, there's sure to be a soundbar that can fit into your budget and home setup. Read on for our top picks for the best soundbars, followed by a deeper dive into each and every model we recommend.

What are the best soundbars?

We tested dozens of soundbars and found the Sonos Playbase to be the best soundbar overall for those willing to spend a premium, thanks to its versatility and rich sound as a home theater speaker. If you're on a budget, the Vizio SB2920 ($78.99/£100/AU$150) tops our list of the best cheap soundbars

We're also fans of the new Bose Soundbar 500, which delivers rich sound and support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for a solid price, as well as the Roku Smart Soundbar, which packs a built-in 4K HDR Roku player.

But what if you need a soundbar to fit inside a tight space within your entertainment center? In that case, the Polk MagniFi Mini is an excellent option, delivering big sound despite its compact dimensions, while also offering a wireless subwoofer and Google Cast support for audio.

On the other end of the spectrum, some soundbars, like Samsung's HW-N850, are equipped to replace a full home theater setup. Samsung's offering spans 48 inches and contains 13 drivers, building a virtual surround sound space that can truly envelop a room. But then, with a price stretching just beyond the $1,000 mark, that's the kind of experience you'd expect.

There are also some great new soundbars coming up on the horizon, including the sleek Vizio Elevate with its fresh look and high-res Dolby Atmos support as well as the TCL Alto 9+ with its uniquely retro design.

But you don't have to wait to upgrade your home entertainment setup with great sound. See all of our best soundbar picks below.

The best soundbars you can buy today

Best soundbar: Sonos Playbase

(Image credit: Sonos)

1. Sonos Playbase

The best soundbar overall

Size: 28.35 x 14.96 x 2.28 inches | Inputs/Outputs: Ethernet, Optical Audio | Audio Channels: N/A | Bluetooth: No (Wi-Fi capable) | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: No

Big-time bass
Clear vocals
Room-filling sound
No HDMI
Expensive

The premium Sonos Playbase features just about everything you could want in a soundbar, offering room-filling sound within a slick design that will look great in your entertainment center or directly under your TV. That's why it's the best soundbar you can buy.

The Playbase is big on bass (as its name suggests) and offers rich vocals thanks to its 10 custom-made drivers. It also does a great job doubling as a Wi-Fi speaker for any of your favorite music apps. But best of all, it can be paired with any other Sonos speakers in your home for the ultimate multiroom experience, and supports voice commands via Amazon's Alexa.

At $699, the Playbase is hardly an accessible option for everyone. However, it does everything so well, and is so easy to set up and use, that we highly recommend it for just about anyone's entertainment setup.

Read our full Sonos Playbase review.

Best soundbar: Yamaha YAS-108

(Image credit: Yamaha)

2. Yamaha YAS-108

Our top soundbar pick under $200

Size: 35 x 5.1 x 2.1 inches, 7 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI in/out, digital optical, analog audio, subwoofer, HDMI | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: 27W | Wall Mountable: Yes

Full sound from a compact form
Sharp treble and good bass
HDMI and 4K passthrough
No app support yet

The Yamaha YAS-108 offers an impressive amount of features for a $200 soundbar, including HDMI, 4K passthrough, a variety of sound modes and Bluetooth support for jamming out to music. It also packs excellent sound into its small design, offering crisp highs and satisfying bass thanks to built-in subwoofers that boost the low end without the need for additional speakers.

If you like to fine-tune, the YAS-108 packs several presets including 3D surround for maximum immersion and Clear Voice for upping the dialogue. It's rare you'll find this combination of features for the price, making the YAS-108 one of the best soundbars you can find under $200.

Read our full Yamaha YAS-108 review.

Best soundbar: VIZIO SB2920-C6

(Image credit: Vizio)

3. VIZIO SB2920-C6

A very good soundbar under $100

Size: 28.75 x 3 x 3 inches, 4.5 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: Stereo RCA, 3.5mm, coaxial, optical, RCA sub, USB | Audio Channels: 2.0 | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: Yes

Great sound for the price
Deep bass
Bluetooth support
No subwoofer

The Vizio SB2920 is the best soundbar value for the price, delivering an immersive soundstage, crisp treble and solid bass despite not having a subwoofer. The SB2920 delivers 95 dB of sound with support for DTS Studio SoundTM and DTS TruSurroudTM, making it great for folks who want to have a theater-esque experience on a budget.

Ideal for smaller TVs, this 28-inch soundbar also packs Bluetooth support for easy music streaming, and plenty of ways to connect. If you're looking to spend less than $100 on your next soundbar, or perhaps need a temporary solution, this is the one to buy. Better yet, no one would ever suspect you spent so little on it.

Best soundbar: Polk MagniFi Mini

(Image credit: Polk Audio)

4. Polk MagniFi Mini

The soundbar to get for smaller spaces

Size: 13.4 x 4.3 x 3.1 inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI, Digital Optical, Ethernet, USB | Audio Channels: 5.1, stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: Yes | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: No

Powerful bass and clear vocals
Wireless subwoofer
Google Cast audio integration
No onscreen display or mobile app
Harsh treble

No soundbar packs huge audio into a tiny package quite like the Polk MagniFi Mini does. This unassuming speaker will fit seamlessly into any setup, and delivers crisp dialogue and deep bass with the help of its included wireless subwoofer. Plus, with Google Cast support, the MagniFi Mini doubles as a great home music speaker.

The MagniFi Mini gets loud enough to fill most bedrooms and small apartments, and we found it reliable for getting immersed in movies and shows. Factor in a handy remote and and an easy setup process, and you've got the best soundbar out there for folks short on space. And at $300, it won't set you back much, either.

Read our full Polk MagniFi Mini review.

Best soundbar: Yamaha YAS-209

(Image credit: Yamaha)

5. Yamaha YAS-209

Alexa integration at a great price

Size: 36.6 x 4.3 x 2.5-inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI in/out, digital optical in | Audio Channels: Stereo, DTS Virtual X Surround | Bluetooth: Yes

Clear and resonant dialog
Excellent for music
Alexa inside
Lacks low-frequency effects when movies are playing
Only 1 HDMI input

The Yamaha YAS-209 is an excellent package for the price, getting you great overall sound, a wireless subwoofer for beefy bass and Alexa support for handy voice controls. The soundbar itself is one of the sleeker models we've tested, with a 36-inch design that should look great under most TVs. 

The soundbar's four 1.75-inch drivers deliver immersive sound for movies and shows. What's more, the built in Alexa functionality makes it easy to control any smart device in your home — even when the soundbar is off. We wish there was more than just one HDMI port on the back, but even despite that nitpick, the YAS-209 offers a lot to like.

Read our full Yamaha YAS-209 review.

Best soundbar: Sonos Beam

(Image credit: Sonos)

6. Sonos Beam

Big sound and controls your smart home

Size: 25.6 x 3.9 x 2.7 inches, 6.2 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI Arc, optical audio, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2 | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: No

Easy set up
Alexa inside
Wide soundstage
Bass lacks detail
No Bluetooth audio

The Sonos Beam is a small, affordable and great-sounding soundbar that also doubles as a neat smart home gadget. This speaker has full Alexa integration, allowing you to, say, control your Fire TV with just your voice, or ask about the weather or control your smart lights while binging Netflix from the couch. 

It also delivers big on the audio front for its price, with a wide soundstage and crisp dialogue that will make your favorite movies and shows sing. We'd really like the Beam to embrace Bluetooth (you'll need the Sonos Move for that), but it's still an excellent choice if you want an Alexa-ready soundbar with great performance.

Read our full Sonos Beam review.

Best soundbar: Bose Soundbar 500

(Image credit: Bose)

7. Bose Soundbar 500

A great soundbar with Alexa and Google Assistant

Size: 31.5 x 4 x 1.8 inches, 7 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI ARC, eARC, CEC, Optical, USB | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: Yes

Slim and sleek
Clear dialogue
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa inside
Expensive
Lacks HDMI inputs

The Bose Soundbar 500 is an incredibly well-rounded package, offering rich sound, foolproof ease-of-use and support for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice controls. The Soundbar 500's slim design fits seamlessly into most home entertainment setups, and supports HDMI ARC, which allows you to use the soundbar to control any device hooked up to your TV. 

For a slim soundbar without a subwoofer, the Soundbar 500 delivers impressively crisp dialogue for movies and TV shows, and offers solid bass when you're thumping music via Bluetooth or AirPlay 2. Factor in reliable voice assistant controls and a painless setup process, and you've got the best soundbar in this price range.

Read our full Bose Soundbar 500 review.

Best soundbar: Roku Smart Soundbar

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

8. Roku Smart Soundbar

Soundbar meets streaming player

Size: 32.2 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches, 5.5 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI ARC, Optical In, USB 2.0 | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: N/A

Good sound quality
Full Roku built in
Easy setup
Treble isn't a big step up
Slow navigation

If you're looking for an affordable soundbar and don't yet have a reliable streaming player, the Roku Smart Soundbar gives you both in the same package. This soundbar doubles as a fully-featured 4K HDR Roku player, giving you access to every top streaming app including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple TV. 

The Smart Soundbar also delivers solid audio for the price, pumping out strong bass and crisp treble (you can pair it with the optional $180 Roku Wireless Subwoofer if you want more low end). Roku's soundbar even supports Alexa and Google Assistant for easy voice controls. While you'll get more refined sound from some of the higher-end speakers on this list, the Roku Smart Soundbar offers a compelling mix of sound quality and functionality for streaming junkies. 

Read our full Roku Smart Soundbar review.

Best soundbar: Samsung HW-N850

(Image credit: Samsung)

9. Samsung HW-N850

Surround sound experience without multiple speakers

Size: 48.3 x 5.4 x 3.3 inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI Arc, HDMI (2), optical | Audio Channels: 5.1.2 | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: Yes | Wattage: 372W | Wall Mountable: Yes

Detailed treble and bass
Ridiculously loud
Really big
Slightly bright sound

The Samsung HW-N850 is one of the few soundbars that can replace a full home theater setup. Packing a big, bassy subwoofer and support for immersive Dolby Atmos audio, this beastly 48-inch bar will immerse you in your favorite shows and movies without forcing you to put a myriad of speakers all over your living room. It's a good solution for anyone who wishes they had a more comprehensive physical surround sound setup, but understandably doesn't want to go through the hassle.

Add in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HDMI ARC support, and the HW-N850 is one of the best soundbars that is as engrossing as setups that cost hundreds of dollars more.

Read our full Samsung HW-N850 review.

How to choose the best soundbar for you

There are a number of factors that play into deciding which soundbar you should buy. Size will likely be the most immediately prohibitive for most customers; you obviously need a soundbar that will suit your TV and space constraints within your entertainment console. And, because a soundbar is one of the centerpieces of your home theater setup, it has to look good and fit stylistically.

Then you have to factor in the size of the room you're dealing with, and the distance viewers would typically be sitting from the TV. If you're dealing with a larger space, it's probably best to target soundbars that come with a subwoofer — you'll surely appreciate the extra bass.

Ports and connectivity is crucial too, both in terms of wired and wireless access. Not every soundbar comes with an HDMI port; some force you to make do with optical audio. That's perfectly fine if you want to use your TV as a pass-through, but those who are in dire need of more HDMI ports — because their capacity is limited between game consoles, streaming boxes and so on — will need to prioritize options that offer those additional connections.

Finally, more and more of the best soundbars are embracing Dolby Atmos, which is a surround sound technology designed to simulate the immersive 3D audio you'd get from a movie theater. The big difference between Atmos and traditional surround sound is that you'll hear sound move up and down and not just side-to-side, allowing you to get extra immersed when, say, a car flies overhead in an action movie. There are already lots of soundbars that support Atmos, including the LG SJ9, Sony HT-ST5000, and Yamaha YSP-5600. For more on the technology, check out our complete guide to Dolby Atmos.

How we test soundbars

When testing for inclusion in our best soundbars page, we play a range of media — including movies, music and games — in order to evaluate overall sound quality. We also test any companion software that may come with a soundbar, and factor in how easy it is to set up and use each device.

Other features we consider include a soundbar's inputs, outputs and ability to be wall mounted, all of which determine how well it will work with your home entertainment setup. We also take into account each soundbar's wattage, its supported audio channels and whether it includes a subwoofer — all factors that greatly affect how each speaker will sound in your living room.

  • anchoragedj
    Gotta tell ya, it's spendy but incredible sound. Both 'musically' and for theater/surround reflection. The B&W Panorama2 improved on the original significantly. HDMI inputs, including a forth 'bi-directional' HDMI connector so your tv can be rerouted through the soundbar itself. Sub out and you're set in a medium, even large living room. While the Bose is an excellent bar, the Pano is a MONSTER in comparison..IMHO, and as always your mileage may vary;)
    J
    Reply
  • Colin Lee
    I can see I need to do more research...
    Reply
  • Heshacherrr
    I am very curious why there are no review of any of the new Bose soundbars (the Cinemate 15, 120 or 130). I was considering buying one of them but found absolutely no reviews of them.
    Reply
  • Martinaia
    Sony is best. Beats overrated bose easy!
    Reply
  • zerk11
    Creative SoundBlaster ROAR for $149 is the best out there.
    Reply
  • watchingcrow
    Hey Tom's,
    I just bought a Toshiba 40" 1080 with a DTS (digital output) and am trying to upgrade somewhat but someone once told me it is a lot easier to spend to little money than too much. Anyway, 2.1 is attractive for a bunch of reasons but I read that that was not surround sound and with only two speakers was really for listening to music. So I started looking at the 5.1 don't really need the woofer if there is one built in but what I am most interested in the having the "center speakers" as my wife and i have trouble with speech/dialog etc and have read that that goes through the center speakers and you can increase the volume there and have better speach recognition. So, anyway, i see that you are only recommending the 2.1 systems here and so it looks like you don't agree with the need for 5.1
    Reply
  • rexter
    There no mention of Niro or even Nakamichi
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    best "sound bar" is a pair of stereo speakers.........seriously just a small bookshelf speaker on each side of your tv if you don't have room for something large. I'm sorry one of those people still finding it hard to believe how anything in "bar" form takes off so easily, even if its crap. I find it hard to believe the Bose is a top pick considering most audio sites gave it an average rating and poor value for money. Did you actually review the Bose system? or just pop it in the article because of the name or amazon reviews?
    Reply
  • Runamok81
    Can't believe no one reviews the Phillips Fidelio HTL 7180. Wireless sub AND wireless surrounds. $350.
    Reply
  • yorich
    Goldenear Super Cinema 3d array...best 999.99 I've ever spent. Sounds better than any of this crap here, looks fantastic, couldn't be happier. This list is a joke
    Reply